Etymology
Advertisement
minuscule (n.)

1705, "small (not capital) letter," from French minuscule (17c.), from Latin minuscula, in minuscula littera "slightly smaller letter," fem. of minusculus "rather less, rather small," diminutive of minus "less" (from PIE root *mei- (2) "small"). It refers to the kind of reduced alphabetical character which arose 7c. and was from about 9c. substituted in writing for the large uncial. From it the small or lower-case letters of the modern Latin alphabet were derived.

As an adjective, from 1727 in printing, "not capital, of reduced form, small" (of letters); the general sense of "extremely small" is attested by 1893. Related: Minuscular.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
miniscule 

a common misspelling of minuscule attested from late 19c.

Related entries & more 
*mei- (2)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "small."

It forms all or part of: administer; administration; comminute; diminish; meiosis; Menshevik; menu; metier; mince; minestrone; minim; minimum; minister; ministration; ministry; minor; minuend; minuet; minus; minuscule; minute; minutia; Miocene; mis- (2); mite (n.2) "little bit;" mystery (n.2) "handicraft, trade, art;" nimiety.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit miyate "diminishes, declines;" Greek meion "less, smaller;" Latin minus, minor "smaller," minuere "to diminish, reduce, lessen;" Old English minsian "to diminish;" Russian men'she "less."

Related entries & more 
pinhead (n.)

also pin-head, "the head of a pin," 1660s, from pin (n.) + head (n.). From mid-15c. as the type of something small or a minuscule amount. Meaning "person of little intelligence" (and/or a small head) is by 1896. Related: Pinheaded

Related entries & more